The Market for Accessible Technology—The Wide Range of Abilities and Its Impact on Computer Use

Overview

In 2003, Microsoft Corporation commissioned Forrester Research, Inc., to conduct a comprehensive, two-part study (Phase I and Phase II) to measure the current and potential market of accessible technology in the United States and understand how accessible technology is being used today.

The goals of the Phase I study were to identify the range of physical and cognitive abilities among working-age adults and current computer users in the United States, the types of difficulties and impairments that limit the scope of activities and their degree of severity, and the number of people who could potentially benefit from using accessible technology. This information, coupled with aging population trends, can help to explain the aging population's impact on computer use and need for accessible technology.

This report contains a summary of the Phase I study and presents its findings about individuals who are likely to benefit from the use of accessible technology. It also includes findings about working-age adults and computer users and presents data about the aging population in the US and its impact on computer use. This report concludes with statements about how these findings affect the information technology (IT) industry.

This report includes:

  • Identifying Who Is Likely to Benefit from the Use of Accessible Technology
    • Defining Who is Likely to Benefit from the Use of Accessible Technology
    • Individuals Likely to Benefit from the Use of Accessible Technology
  • Findings About Working-Age Adults
    • Difficulties and Impairments Among Working-Age Adults
    • Majority of Working-Age Adults Likely to Benefit from the Use of Accessible Technology
  • Findings About Computer Users
    • Difficulties and Impairments Among Computer Users
    • Majority of Computer Users Likely to Benefit from the Use of Accessible Technology
    • Difficulties and Impairments Reduce Computer Use
    • Difficulties and Impairments Reduce Technology Optimism
  • The Aging of the US Population and Its Impact on Computer Use
    • US Population Is Aging
    • Average Age of Computer Users Is Rising
    • Difficulties and Impairments Increase with Age
  • Summary
    • The Wide Range of Abilities
    • Continued Innovation Needed
  • Appendix
    • A: Methodology
    • B: About Forrester Research, Inc.

(A Research Report Commissioned by Microsoft Corporation and Conducted by Forrester Research, Inc., in 2003)